Wheeling Boy Scout Troop 5 Use Race as Preparation for Upcoming New Mexico Trip

WHEELING — Historically, the Ogden Newspapers Half Marathon Classic has been a place where runners and walkers converge to see the results of their weeks, and even months, of training.

For members of Wheeling’s Boy Scout Troop 5, it was the opposite Saturday morning.

As the 43rd annual event stepped off downtown, a sampling of the group from St. Michael Parish made their way through the 13.1-mile course while training for another event — a trip to the Rockies in New Mexico later this summer.

“I was out there when I was 16 and I’m 61 and I’m finally going back,” said Kevin Frank, one of the adult leaders of the troop who walked the half marathon route. “We normally train in the woods, and I thought we should take advantage of this.”

The planned excursion to the Philmont Boy Scout Ranch in Cimarron, New Mexico, is expected to be a rugged one for the local contingent. So what better place to train than on one of the nation’s most challenging half marathon layouts.

“This is about 13 miles,” Frank noted. “We’ll be going about 5 or 7 miles there. I didn’t want those guys carrying too much weight.”

The boys in the race each carried backpacks, meant to simulate the items they’ll carry with them when they trek the mountains of New Mexico starting Aug. 1.

“We’re going to be doing a lot of primitive packing,” Frank said of the seven-day trek. “Everything is on your backpack — your food, your water, your tent.”

The group will be going as high as 11,000 feet, so getting as used to the conditions as possible was the motivation behind participating in Saturday’s effort.

“We wanted to do it with the Boy Scouts in the past and we couldn’t get anyone interested,” Frank said.

He added that he reached out to Joe Lovell, race director, and informed him about what they were looking at doing. He said Lovell made the necessary preparations for the group to participate.

“It worked out well for us,” Frank said.

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